Monday, January 26, 2015

Atlanta Hot Chocolate 15K Recap

In the past week since I last wrote...

... I Immediately ran out of willpower and for lunch the next day after my victory in willpower, had a burger and onion rings.  However, I did count all the points, work it in to my week, and not obsess over it too much.  And I also made a plan for the future about how to get through similar situations.  I recently read the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (which I totally recommend) and learned that research shows willpower can be like a muscle - if you use it too much it will get tired and weak.  Behavioral studies have shown this and hypothesize that it is why successful business people who have to show a lot of restraint and control in one area of life, do stupid things and break down and have affairs stuff.  ANYWAYS, the book also says that you combat the fact that willpower can weaken, by removing it from the equation and turning things from choices into habits.  To do that takes practice, but it helps to visualize how you will react in different situations.  I did that on the way to dinner the night before, but didn't do that at lunch on Wednesday.  Now when I am driving or falling asleep or something, I try mentally preparing myself for things that could come up like unexpected sweets being around.  Meals out to delicious restaurants.  Unbudget-ed (points wise) meals.  Dinner parties.  Etc.  I think it can work because over the past couple months I've somehow managed to train myself to say no to the biscoff cookies on the airplane.  And I love those things!

... I lost two pounds, despite the burger and onion rings!  I really worked my points well last week and managed to fit in a business trip, football game, weekend out, etc. and still lose weight.  That was a real confidence boost to me and I am really proud of that!  Since I started counting points again (3 weeks) I lost 8.8 lbs.  I feel frustrated thinking that I have further to go than I originally thought because my body is different at my current weight, but am still proud of the progress.  It helps me to break things into smaller chunks, so right now I am focusing on wanting to lose 1.2 more lbs to be able to have lost an even 10.  This mental strategy what helps me with running and with long plane rides, etc.  Anybody can run for 1 mile, just focus on that (when in reality it's a 10 mile run.)  Anybody can keep entertained on a plane for 1 hour (when in reality you have 7 more hours to go after that.)  And anybody can lose 1.2 pounds (when in reality, it's a longer road ahead.)  Break it down and focus on one thing at a time.

It also really helped that I kept up my training throughout the whole trip.  I did a spin class and weights the morning before I went to the airport.  Did an interval sprint workout on Tuesday morning and my tempo run and leg day on Wednesday morning.  Having things written on a piece of paper reallllly helps me stay focused.  

Plus, the gym at the hotel was literally right across from my room.  I am standing in my doorway and the gym is the door on the right over my shoulder.  No excuses.

... I started really getting into weight training with finishing my first full week of the plan I am on.  My friend made a little weight training schedule for me that focuses on 3x a week doing weights, with 5 exercises each time.  There is a "push" day, a "pull" day, and a legs day.  I don't fully understand the logic, but I like that it is scheduled and I know exactly what to do on each day.  We're calling this "Katelyn's 2015 HOTlanta Bikini Body" plan and I sure hope it works.  Okay, nobody is really calling it that but me.  But I hope it works.  I can't wait for my muscles to increase my metabolism so much that it just burns away all my stomach fat and reveals the 6 pack I have been building and hiding under there for the past couple years.  That's how weight training works, right?

... I ate some delicious food.  Although I wish I could spend every meal that I am in Atlanta for eating out at restaurants, I need to stay home and cook more to balance the time that I am traveling and make being healthy a possibility.  That being said, it doesn't mean I don't have to eat deliciously!  This week I tried out this old quinoa sausage stuffed pepper recipe (that I also randomly added some spinach to because I had it in the fridge).  Oh and sorry, I didn't think to take a pic until I was half way through eating it.

And I used some of that leftover spinach, sausage, peppers and mozzarella cheese also on a flatbread pizza (which I used with some of the tomato sauce I made back in December that I pulled out of the freezer this weekend.)  It's really fun to me how many of the very same ingredients... I'll spell them out again... spinach, sausage, peppers, and cheese... can make such a different dish.

It can become fun to figure out ways to reuse ingredients in different meals, and it reminds me that it is why I started this ol' blog in the first place many years ago.  When you are cooking for one, you have to get creative sometimes to reuse foods in different ways unless you want to eat the same meal over and over and over.  Freezing stuff really helps, and utilizing core fresh vegetables in different ways helps too.  I was proud of these creations!  I also tried two new restaurants in Atlanta... so I did get out a bit!  I got a couple appetizers at Social Vinings and went for sushi at Sushinobo.  Both were in my neighborhood and both were good!

Oh, and I have to tell you about the chocolate too, but first one more thing...

... I ran the Peachtree City 5K.  And learned that Peachtree City is a place, not just a nickname for Atlanta.  It's about 45 minutes outside of Atlanta and in Peachtree City and in addition to roads, they have golf cart paths and it is a totally normal and acceptable and regular thing to drive anywhere within Peachtree City on a golf cart.  This is real life, people.  Look it up.   They have paths to access pretty much anywhere in the city via golf cart.  Stores and restaurants have golf cart parking and police patrol via golf cart.  More people in Peachtree City own golf carts than in any other city in the world.  And as far as I know, there isn't really any golfing in Peachtree City.  So weird to me.

Anyways, I was proud of myself because I ran the 5K faster than I did the 5K the weekend before.  And I was pacing myself trying to keep up with an old man right in front of me for the whole race, and then I sprinted in front of him at the very end.  Take that, old man!  Oh, and apparently none of the fast people came out to Peachtree City that morning because when I randomly looked up my time, I saw that I was 5th for my age group.  If I had gotten the time that I had gotten when I PRed last summer in the 5K, I would have gotten 3rd.  Had I known this, it might have been a reason to try and run faster! 

Some of the runners from the Running Nerds group I joined were out for the race and we snagged a team picture.  Sometimes you feel like you are starting to feel good and then you see a picture and are like "Ooph."  Still have work to do!

Side note: Sunshine is glorious.

... I also ran the Atlanta Hot Chocolate 15K.  It was a double race weekend for me, which is nice, because I like the adrenaline from running in large groups.  It helps to use races as training runs because it forces me to push a little harder than I normally would maybe.  I was proud of myself because it was the furthest I have run since October, jumping from 7 miles the week before to 9.3 this week.  I felt strong and I enjoyed the race.  

It started bright and early in the morning at Turner Field, which is where the Atlanta Braves play, and where the 1996 Olympic games were held!  It's where the Olympians all walked out I guess, and it was my first time over there.

The course took you all throughout Atlanta and included some hills, but I don't remember them being too bad when I think back on the race.  I actually really enjoyed it and the sun being out was awesome.  I overdressed and ran the whole race with my jacket tied around my waist and my gloves in my hands.  Can't wait to see the race pictures, because I probably look pretty sweet.  I did take some pics at the end though!

The race was fun and well organized and staffed and I would highly recommend it for others who might see this race come to their city.  It was a fun mix of a real race (great chip timing, mile markers with timers, waved start, easy gear check, etc.), but also some gimmicky stuff that made it cute and different.  

Throughout the course by the water stops they also gave out sweets.  There was a couple marshmallow stations, a chocolate chip station, and tootsie rolls that I noticed.  The race gave out a great zip up hoodie, and for those who did the 15K an awesome medal that I love (they also had a 5K but you don't get the medal for that.)

Then at the end, everyone got a "Finisher's Mug" and oh my goodness...

In it there was DELICIOUS hot chocolate, and the most ridiculously good melted chocolate fondue that came with a banana, marshmallows, rice crispies, sugar wafers and pretzels to dip in to it.  Oh. My. Gosh.  It was all SO good.  Granted, I make myself fat free hot cocoa with water at home.  But this stuff tasted like it was made of heaven.  And that fondue?  I told myself I was going to have one bite and then throw it away, but I could barely stop myself from wanting to lick the thing clean.  This week is now going to be a bit tough with Weight Watchers points due to it, but man was it yummy!

I felt happy with how I did in the run itself.  My long runs are supposed to target a 10:00 min/mile pace... although to break a 2-hour half marathon I need to be running much faster than that.  I did *okay* at the target pace of 10:00 min/mile but it makes me nervous how far I need to get to be at a 9:00 min/mile for these distances.  (Mind you, the data from RunKeeper below isn't accurate on the mile split times because it told me that I ran a total of 9.5 miles rather than 9.3.  However, it is interesting to see where I got faster/slower in general.

It was also cool to run such a big race right in the city where I live.  There were 7,500 runners in the 15K and about 12,000 in the 5K.  For a race in January!  That would never happen in Albany, NY, so it was pretty neat to see the running community out in full force in my city.  Oh hey Atlanta in the background!

... I also reminisced about this time last year.  Sunday was my running buddy Jess's birthday so I was thinking about her and my friends in Albany a lot during the race.  It was one year ago today that we planned Jess's surprise birthday half marathon for her.  It ended up being a complete blizzard and one of the hardest runs of my life.  My water froze.  I had to walk.  I tried to cry but my tears were frozen.  It was a wreck.  But I did it and I did it with my friends.  We then ate a lot of food and drank a lot of wine and it was a really fun day.  This past week in Atlanta was a good one and I kept myself really busy, but it was also one where I felt a bit lonely, despite being surrounded by people.  

I know it's natural and it's growing pains of being in a new city.  Adjustments and building a network and friendships and roots takes time so I am truly remaining positive and am feeling good.  I just miss my buddies.  However, they can come here because the north east is about to get dumped on with snow and I ran through sunshine this past weekend!!!  :)

Hope you guys have a great week and I will check in soon!

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